After more than 2,000 at-bats in MiLB, Rocky Gale hit his first homer and couldn't stop smiling
Rocky Gale had at least two things going for him before Wednesday's 13-7 loss to the D-backs:
1. An amazing name that even Stan Lee might have said was a little too on-the-nose.
2. Serious sticktoitiveness.
Originally drafted by the Padres in the 24th round of the 2010 Draft, Gale received a brief stint in the Major Leagues in 2015. Though he collected one hit in 10 at-bats, that big league home run remained elusive. That shouldn't be surprising -- his career-high for homers in a season is five.
After getting called up from Triple-A El Paso earlier this week, Gale was in the starting lineup to face Robbie Ray. He worked the count full, fouling off a few pitches, and then Gale hit the ninth pitch of the at-bat fair. With the perfect name for smashing small objects into the night breeze, the ball flew over the left-field fence in the second inning.
He couldn't contain his joy as he rounded the bases, either:
Just look at that face. That's the face that every kid that spent their childhood dreaming of the big leagues in their backyard can relate to. That's the face of pure joy; of stumbling into a room filled with gold coins and ice cream; of accomplishing the thing you've spent a lifetime working toward.
"I couldn't believe how much joy I felt in that moment," Gale said after the game. "I was not expecting it. Two strikes, I was just battling, trying to put it in play."
As for what he was doing while rounding the bases? "I think I was kind of screeching," Gale said. "I'm glad I didn't have a microphone on me. It was a long at-bat, and I was just enjoying the moment."
Though Gale crossed one item off his Major League wishlist, there is still more he's hoping for. "Starting and catching a game and getting a win is also one. That's higher up on the list of things I'd like to do: Get a win behind the plate.
That also wasn't the only first career dinger Gale's bat was responsible for on the night: Christian Villanueva also hit his first career homer while using the longtime Minor Leaguer's bat.